Should you pay your kids to do chores?


Such a great topic, and one in which I have spent a lot of time discussing with my wife over the years.  Last week, I was interviewed by the Globe and Mail on this very topic and the article can be found here:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/parenting/should-you-pay-your-kids-to-do-chores/article23076370/

Here is the article for you to read and comment.  I’m curious as to your thoughts as a parent who has tried this and found that it works, or failed, or if there a compromise which worked.

The article:

Final_wrk1+(2)

The phrase “the value of a dollar” is misleading. The truth is, there are so many values contained in a buck it’s hard to count them all. It’s these values we are trying to impart when we give kids an allowance – that money has to be earned, that not every desire can be instantly gratified, that it’s important to give to those in need. Perhaps the biggest point of contention is whether to pay kids to do chores. Dan Lieber argues against it in his new book, The Opposite of Spoiled. Parents don’t get paid for housework, so neither should children, according to Lieber. But a strong case can be made for the other side of the debate as well. We asked parents on each end of the debate to explain their allowance philosophy.

NOT TIED TO CHORES

Kids should do chores to help the household and learn to take care of themselves, not to pocket cash. “Let’s fast-forward to when your child goes to college. Is he going to want to be paid to take out the trash and keep his room neat?” says Kristan Leatherman, co-author of Millionaire Babies or Bankrupt Brats.

Lori McGrath, Vancouver-based blogger of The Write Mama

Kid’s age 6

Allowance $3 per week: $2 goes into his wallet, $1 goes into a piggy bank.

The lesson “I want him to learn how to be independent with money. I want him to feel empowered about it, and to learn how to make good decisions about money.”

Why it’s not tied to chores “He does have chores, but [the allowance] is just to teach him financial responsibility. We don’t want it to be an emotional thing – ‘You’re being a good boy, here’s money.’ We want it to teach him about making his own decisions and saving for things.”

Warren Orlans, Toronto-based tax consultant @ inTAXicating and blogger @UrbanDaddyBlog

Kids’ ages 10, 8, 5

Allowance $5, $4, $2 per week, respectively.

The lesson “The value of money. Money is not something you throw away, but it’s not the be-all, end-all. You can do without money. You don’t have to buy everything you see. But if you see something you want, you can save up and purchase it.”

Why it’s not tied to chores “The kids have to do chores as part of being members of the household. … I’m a big sports fan, and there’s nothing worse than having a player on your team who’s only in it for the contract.” But if Orlans has to clean up after the kids after two warnings, he makes them buy back the items, whether socks or comic books, from their allowance.

Denise Schipani Huntington, NewYork-based author

Kids’ ages 12 and 10

Allowance $12 and $10 per month, respectively.

The lesson “That money has worth. And it has consequences.”

Why it’s not tied to chores “The very idea of that turns me off completely. None of us [in the family] pay each other for doing what needs doing. But they get an allowance so that they can decide what they want to do with money. We presented it more as a way to help them understand how money works.”

TIED TO CHORES

Paying kids to do chores teaches them about working for what they want. “Having the feeling that the money comes from your effort appears to be related to the notion that money doesn’t grow on trees, and that you’re not entitled to any money,” says Lewis Mandell, an economist and financial literacy educator.

Tibetha Kemble, Edmonton-based consultant in First Nations relations

Kid’s age 6

Allowance $10 after a full slate of chores is completed, usually every two weeks.

The lesson “That there is a direct connection between doing work and getting something for it … and that things are expensive and if you save up your allowance you can afford to buy it – that it’s not just about immediate gratification.”

Why it’s tied to chores “It was really the only way that we could tie money to something without it seeming arbitrary or punitive or behaviour-related.”

Jen Kern, Toronto-based events and business development director

Kids’ ages 6, 3

Allowance No allowance for the three-year-old. Older son has a chore chart with various amounts (25 cents for making his bed, for example) with a weekly maximum of $7. His parents match whatever he saves.

The lesson “That money isn’t free … linking savings to that was really important. Neither my husband nor I were ever taught that, and as result we were really crappy with money for a lot of our late-teens, early 20s. We’re trying to explain to him that if he puts his money away, it will be there when he needs it. He’s saved $85 already.”

Why it’s tied to chores “There was going to be no free ride.”

 

Danielle Riddel, Calgary-based real estate assistant

Kid’s age 14

Allowance $70 per month ($10 has to go into savings)

The lesson “Nowadays I feel like kids get money all the time for everything. I want her to learn that you can’t have everything as soon as you want it. You have to work for it. You have to save for it.”

Why it’s tied to chores “She doesn’t get allowance for cleaning her room or taking care of the dog. She gets it for doing all the floors in the house and cleaning three bathrooms. I wanted her to have money because I want her to learn to spend and how to save money, but I didn’t want to just give it to her.”

Thoughts?

Comments?

What Exactly Will You (They) Be Suing For?


As Canadians, I’ve always been told that we are much less litigious than our neighbours to the south, which means we don’t use the expression, “I’ll sue you” all that often.

To be honest, I think we are more likely as a society to apologize, take responsibility for the situation and then come to a common resolution than to add fuel to a situation, find a lawyer and haul everyone off to court.

So, as parents, it’s not all that common to hear any conversation including the words, “sue” or “sued” or “suing” or even the expression “suing their asses off”. (I’m not sure if that’s a real expression but if I were suing someone, I’d want them to know that I was going to sue their ass off!”

Yet I swear I heard my kids trying to figure out if they combined their allowances, if they had enough money to hire a lawyer…

Hmmm.

Should I now put down some retainer funds on a lawyer?  I would if I knew that they were going to sue for, if it was even us, and where their grievances lie… Not enough treats?  Maybe they don’t like our “no electronics on school nights” rule, or maybe they want to stay up later than 7, 8 and 9 respectively.

Or maybe we just need to stop giving them allowance, or give them opportunity to buy more things with their money.

Got to love parenting!

What Is In Your Child’s Hockey Bag?


I’m new to the concept of being a “hockey parent”.

A year ago my son could not even skate, and today he’s in a Learn To Play hockey league and he’s doing just fine, thank you very much.  For a child who doesn’t like to watch hockey, or know much about the sport, he has become the complete opposite of me, who was a diehard hockey fan, but never played the sport.

Growing up in the Great White North, I never really learned to skate and I never played ice hockey as one would expect every Canadian man, woman and child would have.  At all.  No organized hockey, no shiny, I’m not sure if I was even on ice with a stick and puck more than once or twice in my entire life until I turned 20 and decided to help coach a kids ice hockey team (at 5am and 6am on Sunday mornings).

I helped teach the kids to be better hockey players – skill-wise, understanding the game and reminding them to be nice on the ice and not to play dirty or take short-cuts, and they taught me to skate.  I had taken and completed my level-one Coaching Theory Certification for a Canadian Coaching Certification, and I liked the coaching which I did for 6 years until other things came along.

Fast forward to the children, and to my chagrin, my kids never took an interest in the sport so I was off the hook… Until last year.

Now, we happily take him to his practice / game and he loves it. (Although I still can’t get him to watch hockey on TV, or to call he puck a puck and not a ball).

But over the last couple of weeks he’s forgotten things in his hockey bag – neck guard one week, then his hockey pants the following week – so I made him write down the contents of his bag so he won’t forget anything  from now on, and this is what I got:

Top of the page “Hockey”

Underneath the title started the list;

“helmet”

“Jersey”

“Neck g” (guard?!?)

“Chest pad” (Looks like it was a chess pad first)

“Skates”

“Jok” (giggle – Jock)

“Socks”

“elbow p”

“leg Protect” (or shin pads)

“gloves”

“pants”

Nice!

I added the water bottle, towel, skate towel, and pj’s to wear underneath).  I also told him for the umpteenth time that in Grade 3 we had to pick French names for French class, and since my name, Warren, doesn’t really have a cool French name, I wanted “Guy” for Guy Lafleur, but my best friend – a HUGE Canadiens fan – chose Guy so I got Jacques.  Jacques Strappe was name French name for the next 2 years… UGH.

Oh, and he scored last game.  Could not have been more proud!  Of him and for him.

#3

How Cursive is Better than Cursing!


There are times when I feel that my wife and I are the cool kids in town and that everyone else either sucks or do not understand us or our children.  I mean, come on… tax, science… Who wouldn’t want to hang out with us to discuss those thrilling topics?!?

Then I think about our kids, and how they will view us when they are older and know better, or how others view them and their quirks and oddities… I hope others will find their quirkiness playful and fun, and now strange or odd.  Then again, I hope my kids are comfortable enough in their own skin to not care what others think.

So where is this going?

Ah, yes…

How we’re so cool.  lol.

Well, we had 2 great families over for Shabbat dinner Friday night and after eating, drinking, laughing and talking, we moved from the kitchen over to the family room to continue with the great conversation, while the kids practiced their cursive writing.

Yes.

The kids practiced their cursive writing… On their own.  For fun… Together… 6 of the 7 children present.

cursivebook

I know!

What got the cursive kick started in our household is the fact that cursive writing is part of the grade 3 curriculum in Ontario, so with Stewie in Grade 3, it only made sense that he would be eager to practice every waking moment, right?  Well not only does he practice his cursive writing, but he also created a cursive writing book for his (just turned 5-year-old) little sister.  This book has the letters in the same way he learned them, however, he also added some fun cursive-games which are completely age appropriate.

More so, having looked through this book, I can say that it is quite amazing what this little girl has managed to produce and if she keeps it up, her Senior kindergarten teachers will be quite impressed.

So now imagine, 6 adults driving coffee and chatting about life, love, liberty and the pursuit of happiness while my son leads the other children through the cursive Olympics…

That’s cool, no?

It’s certainly better than cursing.  :)